Want to build your own arcade cabinet? You’ll need this.

James Floyd Kelly is a man after my own heart. With the help of his father, some tools, and the essential D.I.Y. guidebook Project Arcade by John St. Clair, he’s begun building his own upright arcade cabinet. He narrates the adventure over at Wired.com’s Geek Dad column, and it’s both a fun read and a call to arms.

I decided my cabinet would have two joysticks, 7 buttons per player (to allow for the maximum number of playable games), a trackball (for Missile CommandGolden Tee and other games), and a spinner (for games like Arkanoid, for example). My buttons and the trackball were ordered in green and lit from behind via LEDs. The color green was chosen because I’d given my cabinet the name Saucer Invasion and it would have a black and green alien theme to it.

I assembled the cabinet over a few weeks (mainly nights). A few coats of paint along with some t-molding to cover the edges give it a polished look. The cabinet was no longer an idea but very close to finished treasure.

And then my wife said “I’m pregnant”…

Read the stirring conclusion here. Then pick up a copy of Project Arcade and get cracking on your dream rig. Mine includes Gun.Smoke, Mappy, and Toobin’. (Don’t judge.)

-Jon Irwin

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